Buying a Porsche Boxster

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Buying Guide: Porsche Boxster
Whether you’ve always wanted a Porsche, or you’re simply tempted by the idea of a convertible sportscar, a Mk1 Porsche Boxster is a seriously appealing proposition. Although cheaper 924 and 944 models can be bought for less money, the Boxster is certainly the cheapest way into a flat-six engined Porsche, and it offers an altogether different driving thrill. Matthew Hayward, Staff Writer for evo, gives us the low down on what to look for. 
Porsche Boxster
Background information
Unlike the 911, Porsche decided to utilise a much more conventional mid-engined layout for the 986 Boxster. It’s why the two-seater roadster is such a great drivers’ car, and is regarded in high esteem next to the legendary 911.
Production began in 1996, with the basic 201bhp, 2.5-litre model instantly selling well for the company. After four successful years on the market, Porsche revitalised the Boxster in 2000 with a 2.7-litre 217bhp engine in the basic car, as well as introducing a much faster 256bhp Boxster S with a 3.2-litre engine. 

As with any car, there are many basic checks you should make, including service history, an inspection for accident damage, as well as an HPI check to make sure there are no nasty surprises or outstanding finance. 
Porsche Boxster side view
Boxster bodywork
When looking at bodywork, it’s important to keep in mind that there should be absolutely no signs of corrosion, even on the earliest cars. If you spot rust, it’s usually a sign of poorly-repaired accident damage, so best to have the car professionally inspected if in doubt.
As the Boxster is a convertible, the condition of the hood is an important aspect to take into consideration. If well cared for the original hood can last well, but damage has been known to occur to the plastic rear screen in colder weather. Post-2003 Boxsters have a slightly more durable glass screen fitted into the hood, as well as some extra soundproofing. 

Porsche Boxster head on
The mechanicals
The engines have been known to suffer from excessive bore wear, but this is not always clear-cut on age or mileage. Cam chains can also wear prematurely, but both of these issues could be avoided with regular oil servicing – at least once a year – so check the service history carefully.
There are well-documented issues with the Boxster engine’s intermediate shaft failing, which will lead to a full engine rebuild. If caught early by a specialist, a full engine rebuild can be avoided – so if this preventative work, or an engine rebuild has been carried out, it should be seen as a bonus when looking at a potential purchase. 

Porsche Boxster rear
Five-speed manual, or Tiptronic automatic gearboxes are your two choices for the 2.5 and 2.7 models, while the 3.2-litre ‘S’ got a six-speed unit. All of the gearboxes are strong, and should give little trouble, however when test driving the manual, check for a floppy gear linkage, and if the clutch is heavy it will most likely require replacement.
Suspension components can fail on the Boxster, leaving the car looking and feeling a bit odd. Broken coil springs are usually the cause of any sagging suspension, and front control arms can degrade, causing unusual tyre wear and a strange squeaking sound when hitting large bumps. 

Porsche Boxster interior
How much will it cost?
The oldest high-mileage 2.5-litre Porsche Boxsters start from around the £3,500-£4,000 mark, with prices rising to around £13,000 for the latest and tidiest Mk1 2.7s. Mileage, service history and overall condition plays a big part in the value too, so expect to pay more for a cared for older example than a less perfect newer model.
If it’s the high-performance ‘S’ you’re after, then expect to budget from £5,000 for an early 2000 car to £15,000-£16,000 for a perfect 2005 model. Special editions such as the ‘550 Spider’ model carry a premium; due to the limited build numbers and increased power and desirability.
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